Utilising data governance tools to ensure data management success.
With the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) looming on the horizon, the time to ensure data clarity and operational compliance was yesterday. Organisations which fail to bring their data management, storage and processing in line with the new regulations could face hefty fines of up to £20 million euros or 4% of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year.
What is data governance?
Data governance refers to the overall management, protection and processing of data, including who is accountable for that data, its quality, usability and availability. Good data governance ensures that those accountable for enterprise data are working in a unified way; following specific processes and adhering to internal policies. With everyone in the organisation following the same data policies and processes, the data acquired is of high-quality, relevant and fit for the organisation’s purpose.
If the organisation’s data is already in order, data governance tools can ensure that it remains that way. But it is essential to establish a clear understanding of data governance and getting organisation-wide buy-in before attempting to implement these tools into the organisation’s framework.
Getting the organisation’s data up to scratch ahead of implementing data governance tools
One of the major problems many organisations encounter on the road to establishing comprehensive data governance is getting organisation-wide buy-in. While C-level leaders drive data governance initiatives in response to changes in regulations (GDPR), they fail to communicate the benefits to the business. Consequently, other employees, those required to adhere to these new policies and practices, often lack the understanding (and in many cases, the tools) necessary to see the benefit of the new processes. Slowly, employees lose interest as they do not understand the need for data governance, or see a demonstrable impact on the organisation.
With the implementation of any data governance framework, the policies and processes need to be driven from the top down. To ensure organisation-wide buy-in to data governance, employees need to clearly understand the benefits of systematic data governance, as well as have the tools to see how those processes are helping the organisation and the ability to assign ownership to data sets.
The benefits of data governance tools
Firstly, data governance is more than just the storage, cleaning and consolidation of data. It’s a well-developed and robust system of rules, policies and processes that ensure the highest quality of data.
With sophisticated data governance tools, organisations can manage their data more effectively and unify their approach to enterprise data management. SAS Data Governance, for example, has data quality dashboards that enable organisations to measure the influence of data governance policies on the quality of their data, compile reports and monitor data health. Also, the tools make it incredibly easy for departments to keep their data up-to-date, as they can input new information directly, collaborate, and access data records. As a result, data governance not only unifies the organisation’s approach to enterprise data management, but also facilitates the means for data consolidation projects – and, if done comprehensively, can negate the need to physically consolidate data entirely.
Furthermore, organisations can use data governance tools to set up guidelines around who can see what data and make changes to it, facilitating the assignment of data stewardship and encouraging those responsible for the data to ensure that it is always of a high-quality, rich in context and readily available. These guidelines include comprehensive business glossaries that include a repository of terms and definitions that make it easier for organisations to flag and fix issues.
Through implementing data governance tools, organisations can effectively future-proof their data acquisition, management and processing activities in line with GDPR, as well as ensure on-going compliance. It’s important to look at data governance as a discipline, rather than a process. In order for organisations to truly benefit, they must regularly exercise data governance and instil those practices in each and every employee.
Find out how you can take your organisation’s data governance further and create a sustainable data governance programme, in this free paper.